What is God like? Today’s Scriptures fill in that picture for us. In our Hebrew Scripture, we have the image of a God who bears up his holy nation on eagle’s wings, making this people “a special possession,” dear to God. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Christ acts when we are helpless, proving his love for us even when we were “enemies,” and reconciling us to God. In the Gospel, Jesus’ heart is moved with pity for the troubled and abandoned crowds, like sheep without a shepherd, and he provides shepherds (apostles) for them. In all three readings, God is taking the initiative, not waiting for people to wake up, do better or repent. It is a gracious love that is offered, not one that is conditional first on our response. It is a constant love, a love prevailing through the many generations it took to form Jesus’ people, the original people of God, and now through more generations also accompanying their Christian brothers and sisters. “The Lord is good: his kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). If we are supposed to be “like” God, then these Scriptures tell us also to be gracious lovers. Like God, gracious human lovers overlook human failures, pick people up who need that, keep loving people who are troubled, seek to be reconciled and are reconcilers. And most of all, gracious lovers do this first and regardless of any response we may receive.
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; photo by Dotun55